Burnaby hit by a COVID-19 'outbreak' at warming centre

Clay Curtis
June 5, 2020

COVID-19 has not reared its ugly head despite the softening of lockdown restrictions in B.C., Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, June 4.

The modelling showed B.C.'s first cases were primarily linked to people returning from travel in China and Iran, while later cases in March were largely connected to those coming back from visits to the United States or other parts of Canada.

She said public-health officials will continue to be vigilant in monitoring new cases, and noted that this week's large demonstrations against racism and police brutality present a risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The spread of the virus in B.C. has been much more closely linked to the European/Eastern Canada and Washington State strains.

Six outbreaks at long-term care homes remain active, and cases at long-term care homes, assisted living facilities and acute care centres account for 557 of the province's cases, including 340 residents and 217 staff.

No new deaths were announced on Thursday.

The greatest number of cases, by far, have been linked to the European and Eastern Canada strains, Henry said. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moving forward, our approach is to "minimize, manage and modify": minimize the number of new cases, manage cases and clusters with rapid contact tracing, and modify our measures as needed. When this happens, it most often affects those we care about the most, so we must do all we can to keep our loved ones, our communities and ourselves safe.

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As of today there is a total of 2,632 test positive cases, of which 201 are now active. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 909 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,334 in the Fraser Health region, 130 in the Island Health region, 195 in the Interior Health region and 64 in the Northern Health region.

The genetic analysis was applied to only about one-third of all the cases in B.C. and the sample was not random.

Those strains of the virus came by plane, by land travel, and via British Columbians returning from other provinces or from overseas or the USA, where they worked or were on vacation.

The next stage of reopening, which would allow British Columbians to travel for recreation within the province, won't begin until Dr. Henry is satisfied the spread of COVID-19 remains under control.

Data provided in daily press conferences is for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

"We can see that people are returning slowly to retail, work places, transit, somewhere near our baseline of grocery stores and pharmacies and a big increase in parks - it's probably got something to do with parks re-opening", Dr. Henry said. Most areas reported only a few cases and some, including all three in the Vancouver Island Health Region, had none.

The lingering outbreak in Fraser Health mainly served to underscore a familiar message from Dr. Henry: "The virus is still out there in the community and once you have been exposed to it, we have no way of preventing you from getting sick".

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